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The Metro, April 29 2003

Ah yes, old school values.

It was still 15 minutes away from the scheduled stage time, in a town where getting any event to start only 10 or 15 minutes late is considered some achievement, but the Datsuns already had taken up position.

Guitarists' hair long and ready to fly? Check. A long, skinny lead singer with a mock pout to rival Kiss's Paul Stanley? Check. A stocky drummer looking capable of hitting things rather hard thank you? Check. Guitars worn at swinging angle? Check. Volume at 11? Check.

It's time.

And so they launched into Cheap Trick's Hello There - sample lyric "hello there ladies and gentlemen/hello there ladies and gents, are you ready to rock?" - a song that posed a superfluous question.

For having been more than primed by the support act, the Swedish quartet Sahara Hot Nights (fine entertainers who had the snarly sound and surly look of garage punk, if not any actual songs), we were ready to do anything.

We clapped in time; we sang backing vocals; we did call and response; we put our hands in the air and waved them all about. And we laughed a lot.

Sometimes it was at the deliberate absurdity of it all. Look, if a band takes up the Ramones option and adopts the universal surname Datsun; if their two guitarists, Christian and Phil, regularly engage in back bends that would make a chiropractor grin with glee at the thought of future fees; if lead singer Dolf manages to both mince and menace, pout and prowl, then you know someone is having a lot of fun on stage.

While it's clear that the Datsuns aren't a parody band, they nonetheless know how to use the tools left behind by Cheap Trick, the Alice Cooper Band, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and the Stooges (and in one new song, '80s Australian underground favourites the Scientists) to press our teenage buttons.

Sure there are riffs so meaty you could carve them, but you don't have a song called Fink For The Man (as in "you don't give a damn /you're just a fink for the man") and not understand irony.

And sometimes we were laughing because of the sheer thrill of it all.

The thrill that comes from having your viscera realigned by a blockbusting song such as Supergyration. Or the little surge of latent sexiness during the bump and grind of Harmonic Generator. Or the physical pleasure of the neck-snapping, foot-stomping, so dumb/so good Motherf----- From Hell.

In less than an hour, they were gone. Yes, they came back on for a couple of incendiary encores, eventually accompanied by most of the Sahara Hot Nights, before closing again with Hello There. But when the lights came up it had been barely 70 minutes since the first note and yet no one felt short-changed.

Why? Well, there are smarter bands, there are long-lasting bands, there are more emotionally complex bands.

But the beauty of a Datsuns gig is that you know while you are standing before them wrung out, sweaty, blood buzzing like Carl Lewis on pseudoephedrine and wanting more, the Datsuns are the greatest rock'n'roll band in the world at that moment.

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